Andrea S. Keogh Art & Design, LLC is pleased to present the first exhibition dedicated exclusively to Joan Mitchell prints in over six years. The collaboration between Mitchell, America’s pre-eminent Abstract Expressionist woman artist, and celebrated print-maker Ken Tyler of Tyler Graphics, produced exciting, vibrant and compelling work. These large, expressive and colorful prints have found their way in to many museum collections and major private collections both in the United States and abroad. Mitchell’s prints are becoming increasingly rare and so it is exciting to feature twelve of her works in Visual Poetry: An Exhibition of Abstract Prints by Joan Mitchell.
Opening night is Friday, September 9 from 6 – 8 pm and the exhibition will run through Sunday, November 27, 2016. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday 11-5 and Sunday 12–4 at the gallery on Litchfield’s historic town green, next to the well-known West Street Grill, and by appointment or chance. For those of you who are unable to come to Litchfield, Connecticut to experience the beautiful fall foliage and Mitchell’s prints, all the works can also be viewed on our website 24/7 at www.akeoghartandesign.com as well as on ARTSY.
Joan Mitchell (Chicago 1925-1992 France) stands out as the most important woman in the American Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1940s, and 50s, exhibiting alongside titans Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Barnett Newman. Mitchell was born in Chicago and raised in a cultured home which stressed excellence. She studied at Smith College and later at the Art Institute of Chicago. On a scholarship trip to Europe in the late 1940s, Mitchell began a passionate and life-long affair with France, and divided the rest of her time between homes there and in New York.
Mitchell’s work, although abstract, is grounded and inspired in landscape. Her work reflects the influence of Cézanne, Matisse, Monet and Van Gogh. As a result, her paintings and prints have an organic flow to them, the seemingly scattered paint or printer’s ink alluding to nature’s equally nuanced order.
The first time Mitchell and Tyler worked together was in 1981, at Tyler Graphics, Tyler’s Studio in Bedford, New York. Aptly named, the works from this collaboration are known as the Bedford Series. Visual Poetry features Flower I, Flower II and Sides of a River III from the series. Mitchell’s painting technique of building her paintings with strokes of color translated well to printmaking. With each run of a plate through the press, colors layered upon one another to create the final image. (Tyler Graphics: The Extended Image. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1987; p. 75.)
Ten years later, Tyler had relocated his studios to neighboring Mt. Kisco, NY and from 1991-1992 Mitchell and Tyler collaborated a second time. Sunflower V, Trees II and the Poems portfolio are all from this period. In his September 15, 2010 blog Ken Tyler reminisced about his work with Joan and her mastery of color, “I never worked with anyone since Albers that had such a keen knowledge of color and how colors interacted with each other.” (https://tylerblogs.com/tag/joan-mitchell).
Just as artists Cezanne, van Gogh, Matisse and Monet influenced Mitchell’s work, so did poetry. Growing up in Chicago, her mother, Marion Strobel, was a poet and an associate publisher of the influential Poetry magazine. Exposed to first-rate poets like T.S. Elliott, Ezra Pound and Wallace Stevens and their work, poetry continued to inspire Mitchell throughout her life. Later, while living in New York as part of the Cedar Bar crowd, she befriended poets John Ashberry, Frank O’Hara and James Schuyler and she frequently illustrated poems.
Beginning in 1991 Mitchell worked with Ken Tyler and poet Nathan Kernan to produce Poems, a portfolio of eight illustrated poems. According to Kernan, he wrote a number of the poems in response to their mutual friend James Schuyler’s death in April of 1991 which Joan then composed artwork for. (Joan Mitchell: Selected Paintings 1956-1992. Essay by Nathan Kernan. New York: Cheim & Read, 2002, n.p.). The expressive colors and compositions in this artist book are so successful because they express Mitchell’s complex, deep and vibrant persona and perhaps most importantly showcase her incredible sense of color.